Productivity

Working from Home Tips & Challenges During COVID-19

With COVID-19 many of us are home with kids, partners, and pets—and trying to put in a day’s work as well. Whether you’re an employer, employee, or student, most of us working from home today were not expecting to be doing so just a few weeks ago. For many of us, working from home feels different, but our working from home challenges are similar and we can help each other to tackle them! Here are some working from home tips that are particularly applicable to the current climate:

Tips for Working at Home with Kids

Usually working from home means peace and quiet. For those with kids at home, the distractions can be endless. If you and your partner are both working from home, designate times during the work day when each of you is responsible for attending to children’s needs, so you can each count on a block of uninterrupted time. (Tip: See our new blog post on home activities for kids.)

If you’re not usually the “go-to” parent, step up your game and exercise this muscle. Create a daily schedule and post it in clear sight so everyone is in the loop. Consider having lunch together as a family, so your kids know there’s a time each day where they’ll have dedicated access to you. This will make it easier for kids to adhere to boundaries around work times.

Tips for Students at Home

No matter the age, from pre-schoolers to college kids, learning’s happening at home at this point. For students engaging in on-line learning, they may be in the same situation as their parents: needing dedicated space, and adjusting to new technology and protocols. Make sure each of your children has a dedicated spot for uninterrupted learning, and ear buds or equivalent equipment to allow participating in on-line lectures while you’re engaged in conference calls and customer calls of your own.

Working from Home with Cats and Dogs

Family pets can be a port in the storm during these uncertain times, but they can also cause stress when you’re trying to collaborate with coworkers and customers remotely. Feed your attention-seeking pets just before getting on a conference call. If you have an enclosed yard, plan their outside time to coincide with client and co-worker calls. Although a barking dog can be a nuisance during a conference call or client meeting, cut yourself some slack as many families have pets, and most of those families are working from home right along with you and yours.

Productivity Tips for Working at Home

If your biggest working from home challenge is productivity, know that even if you’re not hitting home runs right off the bat, your productivity WILL get better. There’s a lot to adjust to, including kids, partners, pets, and most of all, general uncertainty. Like starting a new job where you have to figure out where the bathroom is and how to get the coffee machine to work and how to tune out the guy next to you slurping his coffee all morning, you’ll figure out quickly what works best for you in a home work environment.

For some of us, it’ll be a precise start and stop time, plus showering and putting on work clothes each day. For others it will involve multi-tasking such as caring for little kids, working while they’re napping or when things settle down at night. Be open to whatever path that works for you and your family.

Setting Up Monitors for Remote Workspace

Many of us aren’t used to the hardware challenges of working from home, and transforming a bedroom desk or a living room coffee table into a home office takes some adjustments. Multiple monitors won’t always fit on surfaces meant for other things, like eating dinner, paying bills, sorting laundry, or attempting homeschooling to name just a few.

Give yourself some time to get used to a smaller space including fewer monitors and other peripherals. Prepare to go more slowly at first, until constant toggling between windows is the new norm and “Alt Tab” becomes a no brainer.

Home Exercise Challenges & Tips

In many areas across the country, at precisely the time we need stress relief and strength, gyms are closed and group exercise is on hold, affecting both you and your kids if you have them. Don’t add pressure to your working from home challenges by expecting that your exercise routine will be identical or uninterrupted, but do embrace new and different opportunities to move your body.

YouTube offers tons of free work-out programs. Google “YouTube workouts for free.” Include terms like “no equipment, yoga, strength and recovery, weight training, barre method, cardio, pilates” to get some good ones. Take walks if you can. Breathe deeply.

Managing Expectations

It may take a little time to get accustomed to this ever-changing normal. Prioritize your most important tasks for your most productive period of the day, whether that’s early in the morning before the house is awake, mid-afternoon when babies are napping, or during the night if that’s when you feel focused. Don’t expect too much, too soon. And remember to make sure you carve out dedicated down time from work, for your own sake and that of the others in your home.

Best Sellers at National Pen

A Meaningful Time to Let Others Know You Care

Sending your customers a customized gift to help them work from home is a good way to stay connected in a meaningful way during this difficult time. Hearing from you provides a bit of normalcy, and will go a long way toward being there for your customers when it matters most.

Likewise, if you’re an employer and your employees have recently been assigned to work from home, they may be experiencing disconnect and uncertainty. Receiving a promotional item or two from you with your company logo, slogan, or other messaging can help to keep spirits up.

Tip: See our new collection of custom health and safety products, including face masks.

Our Picks for Work from Home Gifts

To let your customers and employees know you care, consider customized work from home items like stylus pens, paper, notepads, baseball hats, fun desk pens, magnets, mouse pads, and stress balls. We like these:

Pads & Sticky Notes

Although in large supply at the office, these might be in scarce supply at home. Here are a few affordable options:

Jr. Deluxe Padboard

BIC® 4″ x 3″ Sticky Note Pad – 100 Sheet

Stylus Pens

A pen with an integrated stylus means there’s no need to touch a screen. These offer other features including flashlight, phone holder, or a hidden screw bit. See our picks below, or browse all stylus pens.

Alpha Soft Touch Pen with Stylus®

Sky Light Stylus Pen with Phone Stand

Tool Box Pen

Headphones & Earbuds

Help keep folks working from home focused by tuning out ambient household noise with custom earbuds.

Blutunes Wireless Headphones

Earbuds with Case

Rechargeable Bluetooth Earbuds with Case

Health & Safety Items

For employees, students, and customers working from home who still need to get out for groceries, gas, and other essentials, hand sanitizer giveaways and face masks are always welcome.

Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Gel Packet – In Stock

Blank Disposable Non-Surgical Face Mask – In Stock

All Things Change and This Will, Too

With so much changing, including our work, we can help each other by staying safe, staying connected, and staying hopeful. Find peaceful moments where you can, whether it’s online humor with a colleague or client, doing in-home yoga and home activities with your kids, or finding new ways to focus in a busy household. Who knows? Some of us might decide the work-from-home lifestyle is worth hanging onto long-term.

Share your best strategies and tips for working from home by finding us online (we’re working from home, too!) via Facebook and Instagram.

P.S. If you’re an employer looking for tips on keeping remote workers engaged, check out our blog post.

Looking for Work from Home Essentials?

See our new collection of Working From Home Customized Products to help you, employees and/or clients during COVID-19.

Karleen Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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Karleen Andersen

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